Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Oden or Durant?


Durant is a possible (probable?) Tracy McGrady with these added features: a charismatic knack for leadership, a knack for rebounding, and a knack for shot blocking. He's a three knacker. Durant might be 2 inches taller than McGrady. Durant has extra long arms. Durant has killer instinct in place, ready to go. Kevin Durant: No Assembly Required.

Always take the best player, regardless of need or position. Plus, you don't let this type of guy go by. By Friday morning, Durant will have substantially more trade value than Oden. Durant has greater upside than Oden, AND Durant is a less risky pick. What's not to like about that equation? Yet that doesn't matter as much as this:
Always ALWAYS ALWAYS take the best player.

J.D. Johannes wrap-up post from Iraq.

Link. He also says this:
"you know, we could have this thing all but won and still declare defeat. That is sickening."

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ex-Girlfriend Test

Bill, and the woman widely reported to be his current g/f: Canadian MP Belinda Stronach.
Ms. Stronach's reported sex life has been mercurial. She has been accused of breaking up marriages, of sleeping her way to the top (with both politicians and businesspersons), and has had affairs with multiple (married) Toronto Maple Leaf hockey players.
Ms. Stronach reportedly had a mastectomy just a few days ago - on June 19. So, even as I gossip about her, I genuinely wish her the best.
When candidates run for President, media love to run to their ex-girlfriends/ex-wives for dirt. Actually, though it maybe doesn't seem so, media largely avoided Bill Clinton's pantheon of ex-girlfriends. So maybe I should've written: When Repubs run for President, media love to run to their ex-g/fs.
Fortunately, Pres. Reagan's ex-wife: Jane Wyman, refused to say anything negative about him. George W. Bush's ex-girlfriend followed Jane Wyman's example.

Soon to be official candidate Fred Thompson famously trails a string of ex-wives and ex-gfs behind him. SO FAR, however, Fred's exes appear to be assets for him. SO FAR, they gush about what a wonderful guy he was/is. I've rarely seen such gushing as in this article from the Sunday Times Online. Note that one of Fred's exes is Texan Georgette Mosbacher. Georgette Mosbacher is beautiful, smart, shrewd, rich, and a heavy political hitter. When Georgette Mosbacher praises Fred, I hang on every word, searching for nuance.

Fred's exes seem genuinely fond of him. That speaks to character - both theirs and his.
Let's Have a Beer
They say every Presidential election comes down to: who would you most like to sit and have a beer with. It does seem so:
  • Bush over Kerry

  • Bush over Gore

  • Clinton over Dole

  • Clinton over Bush I

  • Bush I over Dukakis

  • Reagan over Mondale

  • Reagan over Carter (Reagan wins the beer test over anybody, really)

  • Carter over Ford Here the comparison breaks down. Many say the Carter victory was electoral retribution over Nixon and Watergate. Maybe so, b/c having a beer with Jimmah would be hell.

  • Nixon over McGovern (McGovern was considered strident b/c of his antiwar rhetoric)

  • Nixon over Humphrey I believe this is the exception to the rule. Humphrey was "the happy warrior". Surely he was more fun to drink with than Nixon. Maybe the 1968 voters were different from todays.

  • Johnson over Goldwater.

  • JFK over Nixon.

  • Eisenhower over Stevenson (twice)

  • Truman over Dewey

  • FDR over Dewey (poor Dewey suffered from being perceived as "not down to earth" by virtue of being from New York)
Okay, we won't go back further. Nixon over Humphrey is the exception. Otherwise - if we consider Carter a protest vote aberration - the rule holds.

If the rule actually has validity, that is good news for Giuliani, Romney, and Fred Thompson - each of whom would clearly be engaging and good company. It is especially good news for Fred Thompson. Apparently, both sexes would enjoy hanging out and having beers with Fred.

Presidential Candidates
I couldn't be happier with the Repub candidates for President, btw. Excepting Ronald Reagan: the trio of Giuliani, Romney, and Fred are the finest candidates our country has seen in a generation. Excepting Ronald Reagan, I believe you'd have to go back to JFK to find as excellent a candidate as any of the three. I would vote for any of the three over JFK. I am ecstatic over their quality. (Note: I am amending this statement about going back to JFK. Nixon was a capable, patriotic, and well-prepared Presidential candidate in '68 and '72. Fred and Mitt and Rudy are not better candidates than Nixon was.)

Romney is an unknown sleeper - and yet: he may actually be the finest candidate of the three. Mitt Romney is a fine, fine, smart, smart man. He is personable, he is tough, he is likable, he carries a tremendous record of business and political accomplishment. He is - from his beautiful wife, to his 5 sons, to his record of accomplishment: the perfect candidate. Mitt is an old-school heroic figure in the tradition of Christy Matthewson, Sargeant York, Gary Cooper, NASA Astronauts, and Roger Staubach. Mitt even has the strong-jawed visage of an old school hero. Mitt Romney will be President some day - and maybe the sooner the better.

I cannot decide amongst the three candidates. I love all of them. I hope their competition will sharpen the winner for the general election run. I hope their competition will reveal the winner's true self to the general voting public. I hope.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hillary Sopranos Spoof

Genius. Link.

Compare it with the earlier, also genius, spoof of the iconic Apple MacIntosh commercial.

Anything which softens Hillary's sharp edges is genius. Any process which gives Hillary a) a script and b) unlimited takes in which to look softer, is genius. Anything which hints at humor (a spoof) is genius. Hillary's people are genius.


  • Hillary and Bill can be legitimately compared to a crime family. This commercial spoofs that comparison, and blunts its eventual impact.
  • Hillary is just regular folks - just like you and me! Journey sings in background: "Just a smalltown girl" -Hillary looks up expectantly towards the love and light of her life: Bill. In the pause between Journey lyrics, camera cuts to Bill. In the instant before the next Journey lyrics begin: "Livin in a lonely world" -camera cuts back to Hill. She is smiling good naturedly. Thus, the message: Bill is the lovelight of her life; he hurt her; she understands and accepts the bumps in life with well-grounded, good-natured, good humor. This is a critical resonation. It is the Hillary campaign's answer to those who are offended that she remains married to Bill for reasons of her own ambition. Its not about ambition AT ALL, doncha see! The girl loves the boy! This commercial is so brilliant it takes my breath away.
  • Chelsea! Chelsea! Chelsea! Chelsea makes an unseen appearance(wordplay! heh). Hillary NEEDS to be seen as a Mom, instead of a cold, calculating beyatch.
  • The carrots!* Hillary says: "I'm watching out for you." This is a major theme of Hillary's campaign. Women, especially, want to feel government is watching out for them/taking care of them/protecting them. This is focus grouped. The carrots/watching out for you also symbolize health care - which is a huge issue for women voters. There's another message here: Government knows best. Hillary represents government. Hillary IS government. She knows best.
  • The songs in the jukebox are aimed at various demographics. Shania Twain: Rock the Country - check that demographic group off. The Temptations: Get Ready - Hillary is coming to right all wrongs. (You think this stuff is accidental?!) Smashmouth: I'm a Believer - young people respond to a motivating cause they can believe in - and thus, miraculously, get up from their video games and go vote. Every viewer looks into the jukebox, and sees what they want to see. Some will look right past Shania Twain, and then zero in on Smashmouth, for instance.
  • Hillary: "Well, like you always say, focus on the good times." For conservatives, thinking back on Bill's "End of History" unserious Presidency, that statement scares them to death. Yet, for potential Hillary voters, this is a message that she will carry on Bill's wonderful legacy. Note Bill's look of pride.
  • Hillary will be laser focused on women voters. She has a problem with older women voters. She has a problem with red state women voters. And she needs to drive young women voters to the polls. Note the middle-aged woman at the adjoining table. Hillary literally turns her head towards her. Hillary is literally, physically "watching out for her". This woman is unmarried. This woman is having lunch with her parents on a Saturday afternoon - this points to what a wonderful person she is. She is "watching out for" her parents. She needs someone in Washington who will "watch out for her". She needs to feel safe and nurtured and protected by someone other than her cat and her two dogs.
  • The table of children/cub scouts is aimed at both older women voters and red state women voters.
  • The sweetly presented young couple in the corner booth are aimed at young women voters. Hillary is especially focused on women voters in college and just out of college. Such young women usually do not bother to vote. If Hillary can drive this demographic to the polls, they could nudge her over the top. This demographic will heavily trend Democratic. Also, this likable young woman is plausibly of Latin heritage. Another demographic group checked-off. How I would hate to be a Dem candidate: my life, my policies, and my Sopranos spoof commercials would be about interest groups.
  • The bad/mean guy rudely staring at Hillary? He represents Republican extremist haters! Hillary and Bill squench faces at each other. Hillary and Bill are rational moderates. No rational moderate can understand Republican extremist haters (thus: there is no need to even CONSIDER their policy opinions - they are haters!). What is UP with those right-wing haters?! Hillary and Bill are just folks - they are not criminals - they are just like me and you. Those "vast right-wing conspiracy" people make me so mad. Those "men who are threatened by powerful women" make me so mad. Who can understand where their hatred comes from?! Ohhh, I just hate those people! Poor Hillary. She has to overcome so much. Notice how Hillary STANDS UP TO HIM via returning his stare. She is standing up for all of us against those haters! Hillary is so brave. I love her so much!

Final note: there was a booth of two token gay black men - probably cousins to the "Token" character on Southpark. For me, this echoes beyond a knowing nod at two interest groups. This booth of two middle class black men (in Chappaqua, NY? - well, they are gay men) is redolent of exactly how the Democratic Party has used and abused black people for several decades. Democratic Party policies have been a slow-motion nightmare for black people in America.


*Ann Althouse has tons of provocative, mostly unserious fun with a carrots-as-phallic-symbols observation. Carrots have ALWAYS been phallic symbols, doncha know? Look at how Hillary ordered carrot sticks! She is cutting Bill down to size! She is cutting those pompous men politicians down to size! Carrot sticks symbolize that Hillary rules over all penises! Carrot sticks mean Hillary rules Bill -or at least gives him some well-deserved, satisfying guff. Carrot sticks mean Hillary is striking a blow for every woman who has been wronged by a jerky man. Such woman can say: We are all Hillary now. Lets make it a slogan. Lets chant it. Althouse:

Maybe you just sit there pleasantly and think: Isn't it clever for Hillary to use the "Sopranos" scene as a device for informing us about her new campaign song and to include some cute business where she alludes to her concern about health care by having a nice bowl of carrots instead of the onion rings they had on "The Sopranos"? If so, aren't you the good little voter, accepting the message Senator Clinton hoped to insert in your receptacle of a brain? The famously controlled former First Lady is pleased there are people like you.Me, I'm not so obedient.

Even though I voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 and may very well vote for Hillary, I don't accept these things at face value. What's more I love a ripe opportunity for interpretation, including comic interpretation with sexual, Freudian content. What are you going to say: "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"? You simply cannot say that when Bill Clinton is in the picture. In the whole history of the world, if there is one person for whom a cigar was not just a cigar, it's Bill Clinton.

So here's the passage -- ooh, a passage! -- that got people so excited[in her previous post]:

Bill says "No onion rings?" and Hillary responds "I'm looking out for ya." Now, the script says onion rings, because that's what the Sopranos were eating in that final scene, but I doubt if any blogger will disagree with my assertion that, coming from Bill Clinton, the "O" of an onion ring is a vagina symbol. Hillary says no to that, driving the symbolism home.

She's "looking out" all right, vigilant over her husband, denying him the sustenance he craves. What does she have for him? Carrot sticks! The one closest to the camera has a rather disgusting greasy sheen to it. Here, Bill, in retaliation for all of your excessive "O" consumption, you may have a large bowl of phallic symbols! When we hear him say "No onion rings?," the camera is on her, and Bill is off-screen, but at the bottom of the screen we see the carrot/phallus he's holding toward her. Oh, yes, I know that Hillary supplying carrots is supposed to remind that Hillary will provide us with health care, that she's "looking out for" us, but come on, they're carrots! Everyone knows carrots are phallic symbols. But they're cut up into little carrot sticks, you say? Just listen to yourself! I'm not going to point out everything.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Beauty; Ethnic Identity Bunkum

Look at what a pretty woman, and an apparent pretty person, Jessica Alba is.

Photographs of beautiful women are more about make-up, composition, lighting, and even air-brushing; and less about the women themselves. Proper packaging can attract a viewer's interest.

It's not that the photographed women are not beautiful. It is, rather, that the "average" women walking amongst us, or sleeping next to us, are also extremely beautiful. The "average" women simply haven't been photographed and airbrushed by beauty industry professionals.

Most celebrity women barely interest me. I am more attracted to a typical librarian. Still, I have, amongst celebrity women, some favorites. Ms. Alba is one. She is from a good family, and she seems a decent girl. I saw her on a reality episode about a woman construction contractor in California. The woman contractor loved Alba, b/c Alba was down to Earth - and, when presented with options about how to renovate a kitchen, for example, Alba would make decisions without excessive dithering.

Alba was recently involved in controversy, after being quoted in Para Todos magazine:

Alba is my last name and I'm proud of that. But that's it. My grandparents were born in California, the same as my parents, and though I may be proud of my last name, I'm American.
I had a very American upbringing, I feel American, and I don't speak Spanish. So, to say that I'm a Latin actress, OK, but it's not fitting; it would be insincere.

She never felt connected to any race, specifically, but she always felt American. That doesn’t sounds like a bad thing, does it? And yet, it is, in the eyes of many activists.
One blog post on the comments remarks, “Guess sell-outs come in all races and sizes.” Another calls it a “disturbing hoard of quotes.” Another claims she “hates Mexicans.”
Alba wasn’t trying to make a political statement. Instead, she sounds like she was trying to avoid speaking for an entire ethnicity and many recent immigrants when she barely speaks Spanish, and identifies as an American first. But because she didn’t reflexively take upon herself her ethnic mantle and collective responsibility, she’s bashed as a traitor to her race.

MKH also discusses recent comments/controversies involving immigrants Arnold Schwarzenegger and Al Pacino.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Chris Young the pitcher

Chris Young is no wimp. Watch him first approach, then go straight at Derrick Lee. In the video, do you see any hesitation from Young - as you see from many baseball players in similar circumstances? I think not.

Notice how Derrick Lee, listed at 6'5", 245 lbs, looks small next to Young.

Why would Derrick Lee attack Young? Would you attack someone who approached you in apology? Doubtful. It seems more likely Young was talking trash to Derrick Lee, along the lines of

"Stop the b/s. Either take a swing at me, or get your ass to first base."

More than ever, the Texas Rangers pretrade evaluation of Chris Young is unfathomable. Tom Hicks recently explained that the Rangers thought Young had a low ceiling as a pitcher. They thought he would never develop a good curve or a good change-up. They thought he would never develop a go-to strike-out pitch, and would - for his entire career - allow major league hitters to foul off pitch after pitch, while remaining at bat, thus running up Young's pitch counts. The Rangers also thought Young had poor stamina.

Bull. Bull. And Bull again.

First: here is Young's ceiling as a pitcher: #1 Starter on a World Series Championship Team.

Second: pitchers take a long time to develop. The Rangers had Young in the major leagues for a year and a half, then dumped him. Ludicrous. Unfathomable.

Young's curve was already showing itself in Texas. His curve is more effective in San Diego, and his change-up is showing itself. An effective second pitch (curve) means hitters cannot stand in and foul off Young's fastballs with impunity. The curve makes Young's fastball a go-to strike-out pitch.

The Rangers would've been better served to contemplate that Young was succeeding at the major league level with one pitch. How freakin amazin is that! Pretty freakin amazin. Especially for a rookie. The secret is the angle/plane of Young's fastball. It comes straight down on a hitter. The hitter cannot tell if it is either going to come all the way down into the strike zone, or if it is going to stay shoulder high. St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols says he is extremely uncomfortable when facing Young's fastball. Join the club, Albert. The Rangers gave away a unique pitcher. Way to go, guys.

Third: stamina. It frequently takes longer into adulthood for tall guys to develop stamina. The Rangers were stupid to always complain about Young's stamina. Young is a tough and competitive athlete. It was easy to predict his pitching stamina would come.

This is especially true since Young had been a fiercely competitive athlete all his life, going back to youth league sports in Highland Park, a suburb of Dallas. During his rookie year in Arlington, the Sacramento Kings offered Young a guaranteed contract to play power forward for them. NBA power forwards: usually wimps. Everyone knows that.

I have to believe Young was run out of Texas by Buck Showalter. For some reason, Showalter always had a burr about Young, apparently thinking Young was not tough enough. Buck, maybe you should watch the video of Chris Young probably taunting, then going straight at Derrick Lee. You were so wrong it makes me want to scream.
I don't think Young's pitch was thrown in any unfair spot. I watched Nolan Ryan throw directly to that spot for years. I would prefer if Young's pitch had been 12 inches lower. Yet the pitch still came in below the top of Lee's shoulder - although Lee drops his shoulder and head and dives downwards - towards the plate - on the pitch. The pitch was 10 inches inside the edge of home plate. A pitcher HAS TO BE ALLOWED TO THROW THERE. A pitcher's territory cannot be allowed to end at the inside edge of the plate. A pitcher has to be allowed some space to the inside of the plate.
If Nolan Ryan were playing now, he would throw directly to this spot at least every other at bat in which he faced Derrick Lee. Nolan Ryan would NEVER allow Derrick Lee to dive towards the plate with impunity. And rightfully so. Chris Young was in the right in this instance.
Now, had the pitch been even 6 inches higher, I would say Chris Young was in the wrong. He should try to keep his purpose pitches a bit lower.
Postscript #2:
Chris Young's mom is a white haired, sweet as punkin pie, Highland Park WASP. She would never hurt a fly. She attended every Rangers game Chris pitched. Chris' Mom would be perfectly coiffed, perfectly made-up, and perfectly attired in a lovely dress which could've come straight off the Neiman Marcus rack. Not many ladies wear dresses to ballgames anymore. Chris' Mom's style was very "The Natural".
Buck Showalter grew up poor and hardscrabble, running barefoot through the dirt fields of Alabama.
Could Chris Young's genteel Mom have affected Showalter's assessment that Young was not tough enough to succeed in the majors? Could the Rangers have suffered from an unconscious class bias on Showalter's part? Just a thought.
Another thought: control freak Showalter and 27 year old GM Daniels were a poor combination.
Postscript 3: I looked up an old email rant, written when the Rangers first traded Young. My email rant was amazingly similar to what I wrote above. Here are the closing lines from my old email:
I'm not a professional coach, but my opinion is that [...] Young is a potential #1 pitcher. Young is potentially dominant. The Rangers had rights to Young for 5 more seasons! I'm angered that they traded him. We'll see how their professional baseball opinions vs. my amateur opinion, pan out.
This season, Chris Young has these stats:
2.24 ERA
1.14 WHIP
.208 BAA
1 Badass overhand right, thrown at Derrick Lee (wonder what Mom thinks)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I dig Minutemaid Park

I've been waiting to see this since that ballpark opened! Maybe it's happened before, but I haven't seen it before. What makes it cool is:
  1. There was no error on the play. This was a legitimate home run.
  2. Aided by a 12 inch wide strip of hard-packed, decorative warning track - which likely exists only to ease mowing (and so the hill grass won't need to be weed-whacked off the wall) - the ball rolled up the hill and behind the flag pole - just as if it had been putted up the hill of an 18th hole at a Putt-Putt Course. Major cool.

All that said, and adding in that I have a fancrush on Astros rookie CF Hunter Pence:

  1. Hunter should've made the (admittedly difficult) catch. You want your CF to catch that ball.
  2. After he missed the catch, Hunter should've swallowed his embarrassment and chased the ball with more urgency.
  3. If Hunter had chased quicker, and made a more accurate relay throw, Bloomquist might've been thrown out at home plate.
  4. The SS should've realized Hunter's throwing predicament, and therefore gone further into the outfield to present a target for the relay throw.

I've never been to Minutemaid. I've heard various things about it, yet - on television - Minutemaid looks like tons of fun to play in and to spectate in. Consider Bloomquist's home run: how much fun is it to talk about and remember?! Tons! Fans will always talk about seeing Bloomquist's home run. Minutemaid rocks.

Military Genius Senator Harry Reid

This week:

1. Senator Harry Reid called General Peter Pace "incompetent." For good measure, later in the same conversation, Harry denigrated both General Pace and General David Patraeus as incompetent. Beyond the ludicrous spectacle of warrior Harry pronouncing this judgment in this instance, consider the hypocrisy:

  • Harry just confirmed General Patraeus to his position in January.
  • As leader of the Senate majority party - rather than stand by while American personnel are led by incompetent officers - isn't Harry honor-bound to institute impeachment proceedings against both Gen. Pace and Gen. Patreaus? He has this power, since both were confirmed to their positions by Congress. He also has this moral responsibility.
2. Majority Leader Reid and Majority Leader Pelosi sent an official letter to Pres. Bush, stating that "the Surge" has failed, and that they will institute legislation to force Pres. Bush to pull our troops out of Iraq. This is an interesting conclusion, since Surge operations have not yet begun.

Quoting from memory - and therefore inexactly - from an audio interview from earlier this week with Dr. David Kilcullen: an Aussie terrorism expert and military officer who is part of the Coalition military effort in Iraq:

I'm already seeing some [political] talk about how the surge has failed -- about how we've been going at it since January, and not accomplished anything. And I would say, pay attention in the coming months, because we really haven't begun. All we've been doing, since January, is putting assets into place -- positioning them, if you will. Significant operations will be occurring.

Click here for the audio interview, plus an outstanding text description of the counterinsurgency strategy of the Coalition - as related from the inside, by Dr. Kilcullen.

I find it difficult to conjure an suitably smarmy adjective to describe Harry Reid's treachery. "Craven" sticks in my head - yet it doesn't work:

Craven: cowardly; contemptibly timid.

I'm looking for an adjectival combination of misguided, calculatingly treacherous, and soulless - with a liberal sprinkling of venomous on top. I can't find an adequate adjective. Harry Reid reminds me of a treacherous snake - except a snake has a better idea of what it is doing.


It was a revealing moment. About Reid; about the audience he was speaking to; and about a belief in their own competence that is so strong they believe it trumps the experience of the men on the spot, whether enlisted man, junior officer or general officer. It was a thumbnail portrait of a large section of the antiwar movement and a preview of their own capacities. And the funniest part of it, perhaps, is that Senator Reid may not realize what a figure he cuts upon the stage.

Friday, June 15, 2007

This ain't Hell

Welcome to a new blog to the blogroll:
The sure way to get on the blogroll is to blogroll The End Zone! Which the proprietor of This ain't Hell: John Lilyea, did.
From John's info page:
My name is Jonn Lilyea, I’ve been married for thirty years and spent twenty years in the Army (Infantry - Airborne and Bradleys) while we raised four kids - a son and three daughters.

I went to college when I had the chance - nights, weekends - until I retired from the Army and finally finished when I was 39-years-old with a degree in History and Political Science at SUNY Oswego on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario - New York’s West Coast.

I was a financial planner in Syracuse for four years until my first heart attack and decided to take a rest.

Now I “work” as an editor and writer in Washington, DC. After living in DC for seven years we’ve moved to the suburbs in Maryland.

My son is in the Air Force - a surgical technician with an expert marksman ribbon, stationed on the Gulf Coast on his second enlistment.

Last Spring, the Army askedfor retirees to volunteer to go back on active duty. So I did. I’m a “confirmed volunteer (current operation only)” whatever that means.
Thanks John - even if you "ain't no nice guy."
This blog is a hobby for me. It is an outlet to express feelings which cannot easily be expressed in public. I get everything off my chest here, then I am relaxed and tranquil out in society. I sort of do not care about the blog traffic. This is good, as The End Zone has very low traffic, and most of that traffic is looking for pictures of Jennifer Lopez, or for "lesbians" - from the one time I used that word, when describing an early Kate Winslett movie. By writing "lesbians" twice in this post, I think I just tripled the blog's traffic!
That said: when someone blogrolls me: you are in! You instantly prove yourself way too handsome and intelligent to be kept out - as is also shown by the babe John is married to. Only a handsome and intelligent man could attract such Ann Margaret hotness! Maybe Mrs. Lilyea can also drive up the blog traffic... Hmmm, Blog Ads must be just around the corner...

Thursday, June 14, 2007


is expression of the soaring spiritual greatness and love which cannot be as perfectly communicated in any medium other than Opera.

This is Opera.

The editing of this 4 minute video is, in it's own way, operatic.

Flag Day!


Monday, June 11, 2007

Ronald Reagan's Tear This Wall Down Band

June 12 is the twentieth anniversary of:

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Ronald Reagan's Tear This Wall Down Band

It was twenty years ago today
Ronald Reagan taught the band to play
Standing at the Brandenburg Gate
Embracing his appointment with fate
So may I introduce to you
The act you've known for all these years
Ronald Reagan's Tear This Wall Down Band.

We're Ronald Reagan's Tear This Wall Down Band
We hope you will enjoy freedom
We're Ronald Reagan's Tear This Wall Down Band
We won't sit and let the eve be glum.
Ronald Reagan's Tear Down, Ronald Reagan's Tear Down
Ronald Reagan's Tear This Wall Down Band.

It's wonderful to be here,
It's certainly a thrill.
You're such a lovely audience,
We'd like to take you home with us,
We'd love to take you home.

I don't really want to stop the show,
But I thought you might like to know,
That the singer's going to sing a song,
And he wants you all to sing along.
So let me introduce to you
The one and only Ron Reagan
Ronald Reagan's Tear This Wall Down Band.

Ro nald Rea gan...

A Little Help From My Friends

What would you think if I said tear down this wall
Would you stand up and walk out on me
My own State Dept. and my own NSA
have said don't provoke unnecessarily

I get by with a little help from my friends (who drive the American economy and fund the 82nd Airborne)
I don't die with a little help from my friends (who drive the American economy and fund the 82nd Airborne)
Going to try with a little help from my friends (who drive the American economy and fund the 82nd Airborne)
What do I do when my brother's beyond the wall
(Do you worry about his fate)
How do I feel when he can't even call
(Are you sad that he might be Stasi bait)
No, I get by with a little help from my friends (who drive the American economy and fund the 82nd Airborne)

Do you need anybody
I need a Western leader to speak up
Could it be anybody
It needs to be a Western leader to speak up

Would you believe this wall could be torn down
Yes I'm certain it can happen with a fight
What do you see when you sleep oh so sound
Myself hugging my brother in sunlight
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends (who drive the American economy and fund the 82nd Airborne)

Do you need anybody
I just need a Western leader to speak up (backed by my friends who drive the American economy and fund the 82nd Airborne)
Could it be anybody
It has to be a Western leader who's unafraid to speak up (backed by my friends who drive the American economy and fund the 82nd Airborne)
I get by with a little help from my friends
Yes, I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my freh eh eh eh eh iends.

[Reagan's speechwriter Peter Robinson] recalls that the State Department, the National Security Council and the President's chief of staff all thought the line was too provocative and wanted it removed from the speech. That conflict was emblematic; the truth was that the foreign policy establishment thought Reagan's whole policy of trying to win the Cold War was too provocative.

In the Wall Street Journal, John Fund couples the anniversary of Reagan's speech with the opening, in Washington, of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, which will be dedicated tomorrow. Fund notes that the dedication will be a bipartisan affair, with a Democratic Congressman, Tom Lantos, giving the keynote speech.

This is a bit of revisionist history of the sort that the Communists themselves excelled in. America's effort to resist Communist imperialism was indeed bipartisan for the first 25 years following World War II. But after the 1960s, the Republicans were on their own, much as they are today in the war against Islamic terrorism. In the later years of the Cold War, it was not unusual for the Democrats to actively side with the Communists, as in Latin America through the Boland Amendment and in Western Europe through the nuclear freeze movement. No doubt that history will be politely overlooked by the participants in tomorrow's dedication ceremony.

Studies say death penalty saves lives

by acting as a deterrant to violent crime:

What gets little notice, however, is a series of academic studies over the last half-dozen years that claim to settle a once hotly debated argument — whether the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder. The analyses say yes. They count between three and 18 lives that would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer.
"Science does really draw a conclusion. It did. There is no question about it," said Naci Mocan, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. "The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect."

A 2003 study he co-authored, and a 2006 study that re-examined the data, found that each execution results in five fewer homicides, and commuting a death sentence means five more homicides. "The results are robust, they don't really go away," he said. "I oppose the death penalty. But my results show that the death penalty (deters) — what am I going to do, hide them?"
Statistical studies like his are among a dozen papers since 2001 that capital punishment has deterrent effects. They all explore the same basic theory — if the cost of something (be it the purchase of an apple or the act of killing someone) becomes too high, people will change their behavior (forego apples or shy from murder).
Among the conclusions:
• Each execution deters an average of 18 murders, according to a 2003 nationwide study by professors at Emory University. (Other studies have estimated the deterred murders per execution at three, five and 14).
• The Illinois moratorium on executions in 2000 led to 150 additional homicides over four years following, according to a 2006 study by professors at the University of Houston.
• Speeding up executions would strengthen the deterrent effect. For every 2.75 years cut from time spent on death row, one murder would be prevented, according to a 2004 study by an Emory University professor.
The studies' conclusions drew a philosophical response from a well-known liberal law professor, University of Chicago's Cass Sunstein. A critic of the death penalty, in 2005 he co-authored a paper titled "Is capital punishment morally required?"

"If it's the case that executing murderers prevents the execution of innocents by murderers, then the moral evaluation is not simple," he told The Associated Press. "Abolitionists or others, like me, who are skeptical about the death penalty haven't given adequate consideration to the possibility that innocent life is saved by the death penalty."

I used to oppose the death penalty, as I did not want to run afoul of the 6th Commandment. Then, I started reading Bible Commentaries, and I learned the 6th Commandment, properly interpreted, should read "Thou shall not murder."

Further, I learned Jesus was not a Ghandi-like pacifist, as I had supposed. [Even Buddhists are rarely Ghandi-like pacifists. Only a few months ago, Buddhist monks took up arms against Muslims who were terrorizing a Buddhist monastery.] Jesus' "turn the other cheek" admonishment actually related to being insulted, as opposed to being physically threatened. Further: Jesus, close to the end of his life, instructed his Apostles to wear swords for self-defense.

I do not see biblical oppostion to the death penalty. The Old Testament is filled with death penalty-type behavior/opinion. In the New Testament, in addition to rampaging through the Temple, and to instructing the Apostles to don swords, Jesus arguably endorses the death penalty in Matt 5:21-22. I see no alternative explanation for the verse.

A long, yet enlightening look at Biblical doctrine and the death penalty: link.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Delicious Conservatives 6

Delicious conservatives enjoy a good cigar. MKH delivers a worthy effort.

Delicious conservatives classic (dialogue written by former White House speechwriter Peggy Noonan):

Ainsley Hayes, offered a job, is the most shocked person in the White House.

Ainsley's job offer meeting continues:

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Paris Hilton Prison Diary

Update - Bumped to Top:

If California didn't exist, comedy writers would have to invent it:

Paris is sprung from jail due to a "medical condition" which apparently amounts to this: crying a lot, thus putting herself in danger of having a mental breakdown.

Sanity might prevail, as she has been ordered back into court Friday morning...



via The Los Angeles Times! Wow! LAT wrote something good! In my lifetime!

Wow wow!! Liberal American female journalist lives for 4 years in Saudi Arabia!! LAT publishes something else good! Is this the apocalypse?

The long gone, yet vastly enjoyed, Martha Stewart Prison Diaries. Excerpt, from the day after the Nov 2004 election, when exit polls had predicted a Kerry victory:

(continuation of Nov 2) ...the exit polls from C Block had me down 6 points early, but the internals were obviously for shit, and in the end I won Shower Queen going away. No surprise there.

Nov 3 Note: to disarm the shiv wielding coos who tries to steal your cornbread square, quickly parry her thrust AWAY from your body, then lock her elbow with your free hand while kicking DOWN on the knee and driving your palm up through the bridge of her nose....

Paris Hilton Prison Diaries excerpts:
Day 3: So that's what a bitch slap is.
Day 5: Gandhi went to prison. [...] Mandela was imprisoned for, like, 50 years or something for being black and also for driving an uninsured vehicle, if I'm reading Wikipedia correctly. Nicky often mentions me and Gandhi and how incredibly thin we both are and how she wonders if he used bronzer.
Day 14: Yeats writes that the falcon cannot hear the falconer. What the hell? Is the falcon listening to a, like, falcon iPod or something? Also, what if the falcon was deaf? Did the falconer ever think of that? Also why "gyre?" Why not just say "swirling vortex?"

Day 18: This "Jesus Christ" was an amazing guy. It's so sad he died so young.
Day ??: I have stopped counting the days. I live in the now.
Once, I wondered if I would have to wait in a chow line. Is there a way around the chow line, I wondered? A kind of "chow bouncer," a chow doorman I might smile at as I breeze past on my way to steamed broccoli and fried bologna? How funny to think back. Because there is a chow bouncer. And her name is Brick. And she hates me.
Lately I'm identifying with the Jews and all the horrible things that happened to them during Vietnam.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Winged Victory

to the men who triumphed
on June 6, 1944
Statue of the goddess Nike. Nike means "victory." Her wings symbolize the fleeting nature of victory.

Once, we did not consider victory as something to be ashamed of. Once, we did not believe success must somehow have cheated. Once, we believed in the righteousness of victory.
"Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight. When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American."
Excellently done:
If it happened today: June 6, 2007, how would the Normandy invasion be covered?

MKH with an outstanding, multimedia tribute post. An excerpt, of action by "Easy Company", made famous in Band of Brothers:
The battalion commander informed Winters that there was a four-gun battery of German 105 mm cannons, a few hundred meters to the front across an open field opposite a French farmhouse called Brécourt Manor. [...] The guns were firing directly down a causeway leading to Utah Beach. The battalion operations officer directed Winters to take the battery. Taking his company, Winters made a careful reconnaissance and then issued orders for an assault. The attack would consist of a frontal assault led by Winters with covering fire from several directions to pin down the Germans. Winters selected three soldiers for the assault: Pvt. Gerald Lorraine, Pvt. Popeye Wynn and Cpl. Joe Toye. Asked later why he selected these three, Winters recalled, "In combat you look for killers.' Many thought they were killers and wanted to prove it. They are, however, few and far between."

Winters saw the impending attack as a "high risk opportunity." The key was "initiative, an immediate appraisal of situation, the use of terrain to get into the connecting trench and taking one gun at a time."
With the mission complete, Winters ordered a withdrawal. It was 11:30 a.m., roughly three hours since Winters had received the order to take the battery. In summarizing Easy's action, historian Stephen Ambrose notes that with 12 men, what amounted to a squad, later reinforced by elements of D Company, Winters had destroyed a German battery, killed15 Germans, wounded many more, and taken 12 prisoners. It would be a gross exaggeration to say that Easy Company saved the day at Utah Beach, but reasonable to say that it had made an important contribution to the success of the invasion.

Winters' action at Brécourt Manor was a textbook infantry assault, frequently studied at the U.S. Military Academy.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Woody Allen Dialogue

from 1969's Take the Money and Run, in which Woody is a bank robber:
I robbed 116 veal cutlets. Then I had to go out and find a tremendous amount of breading.